Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Peppermint Purple 2023 Blackwork SAL - Week 4

 It's hard to believe the final weekly release for January of the 2023 Blackwork SAL hosted by Clare of Peppermint Purple has been release already, but it's true. Does anyone other than me feel like January has absolutely flown by? It seems like it was New Year's Eve just last week, not nearly a month ago. Perhaps it's just another sign I'm getting older. LOL

One of the things I've come to love about this particular SAL is how quickly each of the weekly filler boxes can be stitched. I downloaded this week's release before I started working for the day this morning and was able to stitch the block during my lunch break with even a few minutes to spare.

This photo shows the center portion of the design with weekly filler boxes 1-4 and the interior cross stitch border completed. I've actually started working on the exterior cross stitch border as well, but it's not visible in the photo.

As a reminder, I'm stitching this piece two over two on 32 ct white Jobelan fabric using DMC 823, 3810, and 4030. The 823 is used for the navy backstitch and cross stitch borders. The 3810 is used for the weekly filler blackwork, and the 4030 is used for the variegated cross stitch motifs. There are free layouts for this SAL, but I purchased one of the four optional companion packs. The layout I'm using is companion pack 3, border 4 (shown below). The numbers in the diagram indicate which weekly filler goes into each box.


Since each weekly box on the SAL is fairly small (17x17), I'll probably just post monthly blog updates for this piece. If you want to see weekly updates, you'll be able to find those on my Instagram account

Monday, January 23, 2023

Temperature Quaker - Week 3

It's time for another weekly update on my 2023 Temperature Quaker project. The design is from Sarah Hughes, also known as Stitchin' Mommy. Sunday's update included putting in the little blocks of color for January 15-21. Our temperatures were pretty consistent here last week, so I only had to use two colors for this update.


I'm stitching my version on 32 ct. white Jobelan using the "hot" temperature ranges included in the chart. I'm using the recommended DMC colors for each range as well. For reference, here's a photo of what the chart model looks like.

Since there are only 10 days remaining in January, I will probably skip posting an update next Monday. Instead, I will likely wait and just post my next update on Wednesday, February 1 to show my completed motif for the month of January. 

It's almost time for the WIPocalypse update for January. I'm planning to get that drafted up this week to post next Sunday (January 29), so be sure to come back by for that if you're interested.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Temperature Quaker - Week 2

One of my on-going projects for 2023 the Temperature Quaker design from Sarah Hughes, also known as Stitchin' Mommy. Rather than stitching it on a daily basis, I've made it a weekly project. Each Sunday I'll add the stitches for the previous Sunday through Saturday. Here is my update for Week 2, so I've now got January days 1-14 stitched.


I'm stitching my version on 32 ct. white Jobelan using the "hot" temperature ranges included in the chart. I'm using the recommended DMC colors for each range as well. For reference, here's a photo of what the chart model looks like.

I'll be back again next week with my Week 3 update.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Peppermint Purple 2023 Blackwork SAL

I need another large SAL like I need a hole in my head, but here I am anyway. LOL I've been intrigued by the yearly blackwork SAL hosted by Clare of Peppermint Purple, but I've never joined in because I've never done any blackwork. After seeing one of the layout options for the 2023 SAL on Friday, I decided to join in because I loved it so much! 

Here's the layout I've chosen.

As you might deduce from the layout, this is a year long SAL with a new filler block released each Wednesday. The basic SAL is free which includes two layout options. There are also four optional companion packs available for purchase, each of which contains four additional layout options. The layout I've chosen is companion pack 3 border 4.

Here are the colors I've chosen to use for this project.

I'll be using the 823 for the backstitch and cross stitch borders. I'll be using the 3810 for all of the weekly blackwork fillers in the 52 weekly boxes. Finally, I'll be using the 4030 (DMC Variations - Monet's Garden) for the cross stitch motif borders.

I initially planned to stitch this piece on some 40 ct white Verdal evenweave fabric. After doing a bit of test stitching using the week one filler pattern, I decided that just wasn't going to work. It was too small to really see the details of the blackwork. I regrouped and decided to go with a piece of 32 ct white Jobelan evenweave instead. I'm stitching over two fabric threads using one strand for the backstitch/blackwork and two strands for the cross stitch.

The photo above is of my day one progress on Saturday. I'm really pleased with how much progress I made since this is my very first blackwork project! I put in the center navy borders as well as the filler stitches for weeks one and two. After that, I moved out and started working on the interior cross stitch motif border. I'll continue to work on putting in borders until the week three filler is released on Wednesday, January 18. Or, I might decide to stitch on something else. Who knows?! LOL

Friday, January 13, 2023

Cliffside Stitches Cross Stitch Tiles SAL

I don't think I've shared about this project on my blog yet (other than putting it on my WIPocalypse plans post), so I figured now would be a good time to talk about it. My very last start of 2022 happened around 10pm on New Year's Eve. As I was waiting for the ball to drop on 2023, I figured I would get in one more new start for the old year. The project I chose was the free Cross-Stitch Tiles SAL (stitch-a-long) from Cliffside Stitches. She also has a free Egyptian Blackwork Tiles SAL running concurrently with the cross-stitch version.

In both cases, this is a mystery SAL with a new tile being released each Saturday (US time). The final design will consist of 36 tiles plus a border. It can further be customized through three different templates with different small borders around the tiles themselves. I've opted for the medium template which is just a simple backstitch border around each tile. 

Since I didn't start until New Year's Eve, I'm several weeks behind on mine. This release coming tomorrow (Jan. 14, 2023) will be Tile 17. As you can see from my progress photo above, I'm only up to Tile 3 so far. That being said, I think I've made good progress for only having worked on this project for a total of 13 days and have even squeezed a start & finish on the January block of A Year at Hawk Run Hollow in there, too!

As I mentioned, this is a mystery SAL, so we don't know what the final design is going to look like other than there will be 36 tiles and the border. Here's a peek at the model from Cliffside Stitches showing blocks 1-15 which have all been released already. 

My version looks slightly different than the model, and I'm not just talking about the colors (more on that in a bit). There are actually three different templates which can be used with different borders for the tiles. The model is shown using the Full Template which includes a full cross border around each tile. I'm using the Medium Template which has a backstitch border around each tile. Finally, there is the Open Template which has no border around the tiles. Since the stitch count will change depending upon which tile border is used, each template also includes a slightly different outer border as well as other optional borders. Even beyond just the borders, there are several ways to customize this tile sampler to make it unique.

As for the colors I chose for my version, this bedding ensemble was my inspiration. I love the mix of the navy, aqua, and coral. Once I get my SAL piece finished, I might have to buy this bedding so I can hang my framed SAL in my bedroom. LOL

I ended up deciding to go with the lighter orange color from the comforter and pillow rather than the brighter coral. I just like the way it looked with the navy and aquas better when I was buying my threads. These are the colors I ended up going with for my project. I think they're a really nice combination from the inspiration photo.

Choosing colors for this type of project always puts me in a bit of a panic. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so I'm always worried I won't pick the "perfect" color combination. I have to say, I'm super pleased with my color choices for this design. I really love how they look together. For those who might be wondering, I'm stitching mine two strands over two fabric threads on 32 ct. white Jobelan evenweave fabric.

The final tile for this SAL will be released on Saturday, 27 May 2023 which happens to be Memorial Day weekend here in the United States. Since I didn't start mine until Week 14 of the 36 week SAL, I'm not sure if I can get caught up to finish it by the end of May. As much fun as I've had stitching on it this week though, it might happen! Time will tell. :) 

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Temperature Quaker - Week 1

One of my on-going projects for 2023 is stitching the Temperature Quaker design from Sarah Hughes, also known as Stitchin' Mommy. Rather than stitching on this design on a daily basis, I'm making it a weekend project. My plan is to stitch each week's temperatures on Sunday. Since January 1 fell on a Sunday this year, I held off and started stitching on it January 8 instead and stitched days 1-8.

I'm stitching my version on 32 ct. white Jobelan using the "hot" temperature ranges included in the chart. I'm using the recommended DMC colors for each range as well. For reference, here's a photo of what the chart model looks like.

I'll be back again next week with another update.

Monday, January 9, 2023

First Start & Finish of 2023

As you may remember from my recent 2022 Recap & 2023 Plans post, I selected A Year at Hawk Run Hollow as my new start for the new year. I'm stitching the blocks as individual pieces instead of one large piece. So, after one week of stitching, my first new start for the year is also my first finish of the year.

I'm stitching all of the squares on 40 ct Light Mocha (a.k.a. Mushroom) linen from Zweigart. I'm stitching them one strand over two linen threads using the DMC conversion from the chart.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

WIPocalypse 2023 Plans

Back in October/November 2022, I participated in the WIPs-B-Gone challenge on Instagram hosted by Leanne of Devoted Quilter. During the two months of the challenge, I managed to finish a total of eight (8) pieces that had been lingering on my WIP pile far longer than they should have. Based on the success I had with that challenge, I've decided to participate in the WIPocalypse challenge again this year which is hosted by my long-time stitchy friend Melissa (a.k.a. Measi). 

So, you may be asking yourself, what exactly IS this WIPocalypse thing? It's a very casual monthly SAL (stitch-a-long) designed to help stitchers make progress on their WIPs. It isn't necessarily intended for finishing one's WIPs, but that's mostly what I'll be using it for this year. I would really like to knock several more projects off my WIP list by the end of 2023.

How does it work? Well, the best thing I would say is to head over to Measi's blog and read her handy info guide with all the details for the 2023 WIPocalypse challenge. After hosting this challenge for 12 years, she's pretty much got it down to a science. In a nut shell though, if you want to play along, simply post on your blog or in the WIPocalypse Facebook group that you want to participate along with the projects you want to work on for the challenge. On the last Sunday of each month, simply post an update showing the progress you made of any of your challenge projects during that month. If you post on your blog, just be sure to link up over on Measi's blog in the monthly check-in thread. Easy peasy!

Monthly Question

Each month when it's time to do the monthly check-in post, there is also a monthly question. Since this is our first post for WIPocalypse 2023, this month's "question" is simply to introduce ourselves. I think most of you probably already know me and my stitching story, but for those who may have come over from the WIPocalyypse link up or Facebook group who are new to my blog, here's a bit about me.

My name is Melissa, but I go by @StitcherMel over on Instagram. I'm just a few weeks away from turning 59 years old. I was born and raised in Tennessee, but have been living in southern California for the past 26 years. I learned to do hand embroidery as a young child from my paternal grandmother, but switched over to cross stitching around 1980 and have been going it ever since. I can't believe I've been stitching in one form or another for over 50 years! By day, I'm a Systems Administrator and Software Developer, but love to spending my evenings crafting and watching true crime shows. In addition to needlework, I also enjoy creating handmade greeting cards, knitting, and crocheting. I also really enjoy reading.

My 2023 WIPocalypse Plans

Including my New Year New Start on A Year at Hawk Run Hollow plus my decision to stitch the Temperature Quaker this year, I currently have 50 WIPs. I would love to get that number down to at least 35, but will be happy if I can at least get it below 40.

I planned to pull all of the WIPs I'm including in my WIPocalypse plans to take current progress photos of all of them, but it just didn't happen. I do have photos of quite a few of them on Instagram, so for now, I'll link to those when available. I'll try and get proper photos of all of them soon and update this post with links to those photos instead.

These are the projects I've identified as candidates for WIPocalypse. The first section are pieces I would like to finish this year, followed by a list of larger projects that I want to make some significant progress on this year. 

Goal: Finish (in chronological order by start date)

  1. Quilting Bee - The Blue Flower (started 15 May 2019)
  2. Henna Mandala - Ink Circles (started 1 Jan 2020)
  3. Winter Chalkboard - Cathy Habermann (started 20 Feb 2020)
  4. Halloween Revelry - The Primitive Needle (started 2 Mar 2020)
  5. October 31st - Kathy Barrick (started 3 Mar 2020)
  6. Autumn Alphabet - The Scarlet House (started 4 Mar 2020)
  7. Brown Bird Biscornu - Heartstring Samplery (started 7 Mar 2020)
  8. Easter Parade - Blackbird Designs (started 12 Mar 2020)
  9. Mexican Tile (EGA counted canvas class) - Margaret Bending (started 8 May 2020)
  10. United We Stand - Teresa Kogut (started 11 Jun 2020)
  11. Tis the Season - Blackbird Designs (started 1 Jan 2021)
  12. Lady Liberty - With Thy Needle & Thread (started 20 Jan 2021)
  13. Sally Spencer - Birds of a Feather (started 1 Apr 2021)
  14. Bee Sampler - Lila's Studio (started 20 May 2021)
  15. Greetings from the North Pole - Country Cottage Needleworks (started 1 Jan 2022)
  16. Ukrainian Solidarity SAL - One Point Mind (started 26 Feb 2022)
  17. Oh Christmas Three: Noel - Hands on Design (started 23 Dec 2022)

Goal: Make Significant Progress (these are all big a$$ projects (BAPs).

  1. Taj Mahal Garden Mandala - Chatelaine (started 1 Jan 2007 making it my oldest current WIP)
  2. Royal Holiday - Mirabilia (started 1 Jan 2012) 
  3. Frida Kahlo - Vivienne Powers (started 5 July 2020 - full coverage)
  4. Dasher & Dancer - Hobby House Press (started 16 Dec 2021) 
  5. Cross-Stitch Tiles SAL - Cliffside Stitches (started 31 Dec 2022)

To reach my dream goal no more than 35 WIPs by the end of the year, I'll need to complete 15 pieces this year. Since I'm not ruling out new starts, I threw a few extra WIPs on the list just to be safe. Again, I'll be happy if I can end the year with fewer than 40 WIPs, but 35 or lower is my dream goal. This list targets most of my current small to medium sized WIPs, but I put three of my BAPs on the list as well, but I doubt I'll actually get any of those finished in 2023. I would like to make some 



Thursday, January 5, 2023

Mile-a-Minute Lap Throw

 Some of you may know that I'm not a monogamous crafter. In addition to doing needlework, I also enjoy knitting, crocheting, and making handmade greeting cards. Since the temperatures have been pretty cool (for us) here in southern California recently, I've decided to crochet a lap throw for myself so I can try to avoid turning on the heat. 

Since I probably won't have the throw completed in time for this winter, I'm using a fleece throw instead right now. The fleece throw does keep me warm, but it also causes a LOT of static electricity issues since I have microfiber furniture. I shouldn't have that problem as much with the crocheted throw since I'll be using acrylic yarn for it. I also went with acrylic yarns for the easy care factor since they are machine washer/dryer safe. 

Here are the yarns I've selected for my throw. 

I'll be using the Split Shell Mile-a-Minute (MAM) pattern for my throw. MAM patterns are named thusly due to how quickly they can be stitched up. Once you've stitched the pattern a couple of times and have it in your head, you can just go to town with it. MAM projects are worked in strips which can be joined together as you go or done all at once at the very end to complete the full throw/blanket. 

I found the pattern in a video on YouTube. While it would have been easy enough to just write the pattern down myself, I spent the $3.62 in the creator's Etsy shop to buy the written PDF instructions. Not only did it save me having to write it all down, it helps support the creator whose pattern I'm using. This pattern was one part of a 12-part series she released in 2021 to make a blanket with 12 strips, each made using a different MAM pattern. While the other patterns were also lovely, I decided to just use one pattern for all of my strips.

I'll be using the ombre yarn in place of the red is in the photo above. I'll use the solid aqua color in place of the pink. I think the yarns are going to look really lovely together.

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

2023 Temperature Chart

 I've been wanting to stitch a temperature chart for quite a few years, but I never really found one that struck my fancy. That all changed this year! Sarah Hughes (@stitchinmommy on Instagram) designed a Quaker-inspired temperature chart that immediately called my name when I saw it in her Etsy shop. So, 2023 is the year I'll finally be stitching a temperature chart!

In case you haven't seen it already, here's the cover model from the chart.


Isn't it lovely? I think this would be a lovely Quaker sampler even without the addition of the temperature tracking element.

Another thing that has always concerned me with temperature charts is the lack of extremes in temperature here in southern California. After purchasing the chart, I was thrilled to see several different keys were included which each have 20 temperature ranges. I will be using the "hot" key which includes temperature ranges in 3-4 degree increments ranging from 50 and below all the way up to 110 and above. I'm not doing to reveal the colors she uses, but here the ranges for the "hot" key. 


I'm not sure if I'll get to use the two highest or lowest ranges, but will likely use the others. Since our high yesterday was only 58ºF, the third lowest range is accounted for at least once this year. I also have no doubt I'll probably be able to use the 102-105 range this summer, and could possibly end up using the two highest ranges as well. It will all just depend on how hot of a summer we have this year. It's pretty rare for us to have a high temperature below 55ºF, but it could happen. It's extremely rare for us to have a high below 50ºF though, so I feel pretty safe in saying I likely won't have the opportunity to use that color.

I'll be stitching it two over two on 32 ct. white Jobelan fabric using the called for DMC colors. I doubt I'll stitch on it each day. It's more likely that I'll wait until Sunday to pick it up each week and just put in the previous seven days all in one feel swoop. I'll be using the AccuWeather website to get the daily recorded highs for my city since they have a really nice monthly calendar which shows the historical temperature data. In fact, I just checked the winter months for 2022 and our lowest recorded high temperature for last year was 55ºF which just backs up the point I made in the previous paragraph. 😂

So, that's my temperature chart plan for 2023. I'll likely just post a progress update at the end of each month since each month is represented by one motif. Have you ever stitched a temperature chart? If so, did you enjoy the experience? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!


Monday, January 2, 2023

Fancy Lady Time!

I learned about a new SAL that started yesterday hosted by Teresa Little Stitcher. It apparently started as a "fancy lady" SAL, but has now morphed into fancy ladies, fancy gentleman, fancy animals, etc. Basically, it's pretty much open to anything considered fancy. Teresa even created a private Facebook group where we can all share our progress photos and cheer each other on along the way. If you aren't interested in the Facebook group but would still like to check out what people are working on, simply follow #teresamademedoitsal over on Instagram.

Rather than starting a new project, I've decided to join the SAL using one of my fancy lady WIPs. One of my unwritten goals for 2023 is to make some good progress on Royal Holiday by Mirabilia, so this SAL has come along at the perfect time. I started Royal Holiday on 1 January 2012, but still haven't finished her. With the help of the SAL, I'm hoping to make some really good progress on her and possibly even get her finished this year.

For those who aren't familiar with this design, here is a photo of the chart model.

Isn't she stunning?! She's always been one of my favorite Mirabilia designs and I would really like to get her finished at some point. I've got most of her skirt and lower cape done, so I feel like the hardest/most time-consuming part of her is done. Now I just need to stitch her torso and head then go back and put in all of the beads. Ok, so maybe the beading will be the hardest part. It will definitely be the most fiddly part, that's for sure. LOL

Here's a photo showing my progress point for the start of this SAL.

I'm stitching this piece two over two using all of the called for fibers and beads. The fabric I've chosen is 32 count Conifer linen from Picture This Plus. I just love how the red and gold pop against the green fabric!

I'm not sure if I'll work on her every month through the year, but I'm going to try to. Any month where I do work on her, I'll be sure to post an updated progress photo at the end of the month.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

2022 Recap & 2023 Plans

Once again, I failed miserably at updating my blog during most of 2022. About the only thing I updated regularly were my Finishes page and my Current WIPs page because I love being able to keep track of those things for historical purposes here on my blog. That all being said, one of my goals for 2023 is to get back to posting here on my blog, even if it's only a monthly status update. My more day-to-day updates will continue to be over on my Instagram account.

2022 Stitching Recap

I thought it would be fun to do a very high level review of what I accomplished with my stitching last year. Here are the numbers showing how my 2022 stitching year went:

WIPs on January 1, 2022 55
New Starts in 2022 19
Finishes in 2022 22
Sent to Time Out in 2022 3
Active WIPs on December 1, 2022 49

2023 Stitching Plans

  • WIPs - After three years of participating in WIPGO, I've decided to sit it out for 2023. Instead, I've decided to go back and do a round of WIPocalypse again this year. I used to participate about 8-10 years ago, so it will be fun to do it again this year. I would really like to make some good progress this year getting some of my WIPs finished and I just feel like I can meet that goal more doing WIPocalypse than I can by doing WIPGO. I'll share my WIPocalpyse goals on January 8 in my first "official" post for the challenge.
  • 12 Days of Christmas Stocking Club - I participated in the 12 Days of Christmas Stocking Club by Annie Beez Folkart through Crazy Annie's. I stitched the first two stockings right away when I received the charts, but then never stitched any of the others as I received them. I would really like to get the rest of them stitched this year, if possible.
  • A Year at Hawk Run Hollow - One of my stitchy bucket list items for many years has been to stitch one of the Hawk Run Hollow pieces from Carriage House Samplings, so I've decided 2023 is the year to finally make it happen. I've chosen A Year at Hawk Run Hollow for my "New Year New Start" project this year. Rather than stitching it as one large piece, I'm planning to stitch each monthly block separately. I plan to finish them using a magnetic mount on a tobacco style basket frame from 141DesignCompanyShop on Etsy. I've already purchased the frame, so I'll be good to go for FFO'ing my blocks once I have the stitching completed. I'm not saying I'll get all 12 blocks done this year since I really want to get some WIPs finished, but we'll see how it goes. Here is the progress I made for day one on the January block.

Well, that wraps up my recap for last year and my plans for 2023. As I mentioned above, I'll be back on January 8 with a post detailing my plans for WIPocalpyse.